”We, like those in all emergent totalitarian states, have been mentally damaged by a carefully orchestrated historical amnesia, a state-induced stupidity; we increasingly do not remember what it means to be free.”
The world has recovered from a series of great cataclysms and now seems to be on the verge of some stability if the current ruling powers don’t destroy each other. Kingdoms, while not scheming against each other, are fighting off the encroaching chaos that seeks to overwhelm all. Recent advances in magic have led to a renaissance in some kingdoms that bring hope that a new age is dawning, but the old powers threaten to keep the status quo.
A groups of amnesiacs are passengers on an airship trying to recover their memories and discover who their mysterious benefactors is. The ship meanwhile continues on its mission to deliver critical supplies within the Empire and to the Imperial colonies.
- The Rogue (Dulinnor): A master thief wanted by many for the crimes he has committed, or to steal something from someone else. Meanwhile he hoards gold hoping to bribe/ransom someone important. (Rogue, thief)
- The Warlock (Tavious): Someone who has made a powerful pact with otherworldly forces who seek an avatar in the human world. (Warlock, great old one)
- The Wizard (Morvelus): A delver of ancient secrets of fabled dimensions beyond good and evil. (Wizard)
- The Assassin (Ruak): A shadow in the darkness, using his skills for the greater good. Doing what others are loathe to do. (Rogue, assassin)
- The Swashbuckler (Quinth): Quick with his sword and his wit, he hides something about his past behind a braggadocio (Fighter, Sorcerer)
- The Noble Warrior (Gurtrud): A student of The Way who’s philosophy is as important as his swordplay, no lie (Paladin)
- The Fixer (Toombs): Whether is patching you up or making a deal, he is your go to man. (Cleric)
- The Innocent (Amra): Always seeing the best in others, she is patching up people and relationships wherever she goes (Cleric)
- Dedicating your life to a cause larger than yourself
- The nature of reality, is the world around us merely a dream?
Magicpunk and nautical. The world has a growing “technology” based on magic (plus a bit of steampunk), however, the overall level and amount of magic present in society is relatively low. The average person is not unfamiliar with magic, but they don’t see it every day. It is like going to the big city, it happens and it is a special occasion for the average person, though for some people it is an everyday occurrence. A good portion of the campaign may take place upon the ship, or at least from the ship as a base of operations. There will considerable “wow” factor as much of the campaign is exploration and seeing incredible sights. The primary focus of the adventures will focus on dramatic adventures and storytelling, with a secondary thread of mystery running through some of the adventures. Action scenes will punctuate the adventures, but will not be the primary focus of the adventures and merely the highlights to special scenes, they will tend to be short, intense and cinematic.
- Primary-Drama: Drama-intensive stories rely heavily on the characters, both player and NPC. Each needs to be a complete, complex personality, full of shadows and secrets with unique motivations and moods. Such plots will focus on interactions between characters and groups, with an evolving history, shifting alliances and events that affect the characters’ lives long afterward.
- Secondary-Mystery: These games center on complex stories, full of deep secrets to reveal and dark events of a strange nature. Secret organizations and phenomena will force the players to investigate heavily. Plots will rely heavily on a complex background and difficult puzzles, basing the action not in the adventure, but in the investigation phases, with precisely timed intense action or dramatic scenes.
- Tertiary-Action: If actions scenes will dominate the game, be prepared to detail the cinematic actions, the spectacular chases, and the magical battles. Action gets boring if it becomes routine, each scene needs a distinct setting (burning buildings, collapsing bridges, elemental planes) and memorable opponents (the grand vizer’s animated zombie-ghoul or Strad as opposed to a generic goon or vampire). The creates an exciting combat environment, allowing the players to “bend” the real-world physics for more spectacular scenes.
Yes, see Rules Section
Sources and Inspiration
- Eberron (magicpunk)
- Spelljammer (flying ships)
The setting is designed to be a synthesis of classic fantasy and low-tech. It’s a grim world, a place with elements of an emerging Industrial Revolution, while at the same time steeped in classic fantasy elements. It can be an unforgiving world, often dark and grimy and, yes, brutal, but also populated by traditional swashbuckling heroes and ne’er-do-wells that defy the darkness or utilize it to further their goals.
The addition of steam-powered, and magic-powered constructs, firearms, and other such trappings are an important enhancement to the fantasy genre, and you can see examples of it in all media at the current time. Despite the growing popularity of these additions to fantasy fiction, I don’t intend to have them displace the classic elements that people value. Thus dwarves, elves, and magic are still more common than technology or magitech.
A fantastic interpretation of the swashbuckling era, not tied solely to any particular type of fiction, it draws its inspiration from a variety of sources: the novels of Alexandre Dumas (and their many film and tv interpretations), the Golden Age of Piracy and its many manifestation in film and fiction, and the tail end of the historical Age of Exploration such as the circumnavigation by Sir Francis Drake in 1577-1580. It is an age of explorers, pirates, musketeers, and swashbucklers.
Whether sailing across the The Sea of Dragons (the Atlantic) to suppress piracy in the The Sea of Elves (Caribbean Sea) or riding across Bretonia (France) to thwart an evil Sorcerer’s schemes heroes are engulfed in action and embroiled in politics.
The heroes of this campaign are defined by their willingness to seek out great adventures. Most people of this age know little to nothing about the nearest nation, let alone grand continents halfway around the world from them. The heroes are different. They board grand galleons and sail off in search of danger and excitement with the hope of gaining glory and riches, or perhaps some other reward.
The heroes might be loyal to a particular nation. They could be musketeers loyal to the King of Britania, privateers serving the Albionic Crown, or explorers with Iberian or Cyrillian royal patronage. On the other hand, they might be mercenaries throwing their swords and sells in with any monarch willing to pay, or simply freelance adventurers trying to avoid international intrigues and conflicts entirely.
This is the world of 1667, kind of. Sir Francis the Drake completed his circumnavigation of the globe nearly a hundred years ago. Colonies line the east coast of a great continent. Morganian and Iberian colonies penetrate ever deeper into the interior of the continent of the Dragon’s Jaw, while the Border Princes hold the reins of a vast trade empire stretching from the colonies to the Empire. The Wolf’s Head, the northwest and extreme north The Lich are terra incognita. The islands of the Devil’s Triangle are a bone of contention among Iberia, Britania, Albion, and Nordheim with Albion actively establishing colonies to challenge Iberian hold on the region and encouraging privateers to attack Iberian treasure ships helping to launch the Golden Age of Piracy.